The Tomorrow People (2013): Review: Series 1 Episode 1: Pilot

TP1Stephen Jameson – pretty much your average teenager, except for the voices in his head, and a bad habit of waking up in the wrong bed (and not for good reasons). What is his connection to a group of youngsters who are able to elude their pursuers by teleporting out of the way?

It’s slick, filled with beautiful people (none of whom are anywhere near high school age), and it’s got a lot of the tropes of the original series, as well as some nice nods in the surnames of the two lead characters (the formerly surname-less John is now John Young – a tribute to original actor Nicholas Young perhaps? – while the evil Jedikiah’s last name is Price, presumably after series creator Roger Damon Price). The effects are nicely done, the fight sequences well-choreographed.

But the new Tomorrow People feels soulless. For all its budgetary deficits, that’s not a charge that could be levelled at its predecessor. Maybe it’s because I’m not the CW’s target audience, who might buy into someone looking like Jameson being bullied, or maybe it’s because of the rather cavalier way some of the original series ideas are treated. We’re told that neither the names “The Tomorrow People” nor “Homo superior” are ones that the youngsters would choose to use (although they can hardly say that they’ve been told to do so because that’s part of the deal to make the series!) and when the characters themselves treat the premise with a degree of contempt, then it’s likely to pervade the series.

Inevitably, as a pilot, there’s a hell of a lot of telling, not showing, although the revelation of the future of humanity’s inability to kill was neatly done, as well as laying cards on the table regarding Jedikiah’s morality. It’s not got a full-season order yet*, but further scripts apparently have been ordered in light of the reception this opener has gained. With an emphasis on the cerebral side of the TP’s powers, this could be good, but as yet the jury’s out.

Verdict: There’s nothing here that makes it particularly stand out, which in the current market may mean this latest version of the show could be short-lived. 5/10

Paul Simpson

*NB – This was written after the US airing: the show now has a full-season order from the CW, but no word yet on a second year.

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